New Study Finds Less Access for Women and Higher Costs for Texas With Elimination of Planned Parenthood
A new university study has found Texas wanting when it comes to reproductive health care in the state. Researchers at George Washington University have found that if Texas manages to exclude Planned Parenthood from participating in the Texas Women’s Health Program (WHP), “tens of thousands of low-income Texas women could lose access to affordable family planning services and to other women’s health services.”
GWU has had its eye on the state since May, when it released a report questioning claims by Texas’s Department of Health And Human Services that non-Planned Parenthood providers could easily see the 50,000 or so Texans who currently rely on Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive supplies, and other basic preventive care. Lawmakers in Texas want to exclude Planned Parenthood from the program because they consider it an abortion “affiliate,” even though no Planned Parenthood clinic enrolled in the WHP provides abortions and the WHP itself cannot ever be used to serve a pregnant person — it’s intended solely for the use of Texans who do not want to be, and who are not, pregnant.
The study released this week casts even more doubt on the state’s ability to find new providers to pick up the slack, focusing especially on poorer rural areas where alternatives to Planned Parenthood are few.
Where alternatives do exist, researchers concluded, “they are generally at, or close to, the limits of their capacity and will not be able to expand much, if at all, due to other resource or staffing constraints. There is no evidence that they are prepared to sustain the very large caseload increases that would be required to fill the gaps left after Planned Parenthood affiliates are excluded.”
In a statement released today by HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek in response to the study, the department says it intends to add new providers to the program on top of the 500 added since the spring. “We’re confident that we’ll be able to provide women with access to family planning services and fully comply with state law that bans abortion providers and affiliates from the program.”
In his statement, Janek said that HHSC has “five family planning clinics and more than 70 individual physicians waiting to take the place of every clinic that won’t qualify under the new rule.”
Indeed, if the WHP provider base is not increased in Texas, existing providers will be asked to take on huge numbers of former Planned Parenthood clients. From the GWU study, which looked at five Texas markets, including rural Lubbock, Hidalgo and Midland counties as well as urban Bexar County, which contains San Antonio, and Dallas County: